Valentina Ambrogio — professional English to Italian Translator, Localiser and Subtitler

Level Up! ft. Dmitry Kornyukhov


Level Up! ft. Dmitry Kornyukhov

Posted by Valentina Ambrogio in Audiovisual, Interviews, Level Up!, Video Game Localisation 10 Nov 2015

Hello, everybody! This week’s guest is becoming a very well-known name in the translation crowd, thanks to his awesome project, The Open Mic. When he is not trying to revolutionise our blogging experience, Dmitry is an English-Russian game localiser based in Toronto. Enjoy his interview!

Introduce yourself and tell us about your skills as if you were a video game character.

You play as Dmitry aka Best Russian Translator as he embarks on seemingly impossible journey of uniting the brightest minds of translation industry in this new action adventure game.

How did you step into the video game and/or localisation industry? Was it something you always wanted to do or did it, say, just happen?

I always wanted to work with video games because, well, I love playing them, so I thought I might as well try myself in video game localization. I’ve been a vivid gamer since I was 7 (thanks to my dad actually he is a big time gamer, he’s in his 50ies and he still plays nearly every single game that comes out). Even though I do specialize on IT and general text as well, I feel like video game localization is probably the most enjoyable of them all. Because it has its own rules and challenges. And you can never grow tired of it. Every single game is different and gives you lots of variety. I love that.

What do you enjoy the most of your job?

Being able to be my own boss is probably the most rewarding part of any freelancer’s life. And as for video game localization – I just love the challenge that every new game brings. It’s a ton of fun. It never gets boring. And I love that every single game puts your translation ability to the test and you have to adapt every single time. One day you’re translating a video game for kids and the other day you’re translating a sci-fi western – the variety is just insane. That’ why I love video game localization.

I have read some of your posts and I found them very interesting. You always have something useful to say. Is there any advice you would like to give to aspiring video game translators/localisers?

Work as closely with the developers as possible. Teach them about localization and the best practices. They’ll appreciate that. You’re the professionals so it’s your duty to make sure the developers get the best service possible. Ask them questions, teach them about our language (for example, not every developer knows that some languages tend to be longer than English and that might cause problems if they didn’t provide any extra room in their strings). The more we talk with the developers (even if you have to send your messages through an intermediary be it a translation company or a localization firm) the easier it will be to localize the games in the future.
And don’t forget about the players, of course! You’re doing it for them. They will be the end users of your work so make sure everything sounds natural and adapt the game to the target audience.

List five things any game localiser should have/do to master this profession: 

1. Great problem solving skills. Every single project is different and requires a unique approach. Don’t be afraid to go an extra mile for the developers. They will appreciate that.
2. Don’t forget about Quality Assurance. When it comes to game localization Quality Assurance and preferably localization testing should be the essential parts of the localization process. MemoQ and Xbench can definitely help.
3. Think like players. Sometimes I see poorly localized games and I feel like the problem is that the localization team didn’t actually bother to play the game. That’s a very dangerous approach. You got to know the game you’re localizing, you have to play it, spend some times on gaming forums and learn how people talk about this game. This will give you a lot of insight on what gamers actually want.
4. Here is a really cool paper on formal approach to game design and game research. Read it:
5. Read this blog post with some other tools that might be useful for video game localisers:


Name: Dmitry Kornyukhovdmitry pic
Bio: Entrepreneur. English-Russian Translator. Video game localization specialist. Helping small and medium-sized businesses go global. Loving every minute of it.
Company/Business name: Best Russian Translator
Favourite game character(s): Trevor Philips, Nathan Drake, Ellie from The Last of Us
Favourite game title(s): Uncharted, GTA, Last of Us, Half-Life, Witcher, Metal Gear Solid, Fallout
Game(s) you are currently playing: Witcher 3, Fifa 16

  • Dmitry Kornyukhov November 12, 2015 at 3:29 pm / Reply

    Yay! Thank you so much for publishing, Valentina! And I love the idea of writing blog posts about video game localization. Not so many localization resources and tips for game developers out there, so it’s really nice to have a medium where we can share our knowledge and show our expertise :) And hopefully make the whole localization process a little bit smoother :)
    Thanks again for sharing!

    • Valentina Ambrogio November 12, 2015 at 4:29 pm / Reply

      Thank you for accepting my invitation! I know that there is very little information out there, so I wanted to try and find a small solution to that :)

      • Valentina Ambrogio November 13, 2015 at 11:32 am / Reply

        Someone made me realise that my comment is misleading. It is indeed possible to find information about game localisation, of course – this is the Internet age after all. Still, when I looked for valuable advice, I always had the feeling that there was something more to know about it, so I thought I’d better ask the experts :)

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